At the DC Nation panel at the Baltimore Comic-Con, DC Co-publisher Dan DiDio came out going “off script,” and it was not to comment on who should play Captain Marvel. He addressed the Batwoman controversy, saying he had been offline when it happened but was now up to speed and continuing, on how DC had been committed to making one of their major characters gay from when they announced Batwoman, and reiterating how they had stood by the character in spite of opposition. But he went on to say that “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.”
“That’s very important and something we reinforced,” he continued. ‘People in the Bat family their personal lives basically suck. Dick Grayson, rest in peace—oops shouldn’t have said that,—Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon and Kathy Kane. It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand.”
He stands behind their gay characters 100%, he added, “Name one other publisher out there who stands behind their gay characters the way we do. We put her in the book the company was named after, and the series will continue better than ever with new writer Marc Andreyko.” DiDio said Andreyko—an openly gay writer who is known for an acclaimed run Manhunter and the more recent The Ferryman at Image— will start with issue #25. No word on the artist yet.
After making this statement, DiDio left the panel and sat in the audience a few seats from where this is being typed.
The DC Nation panel continued with EIC Bob Harras, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Prado, David Finch, Ivan Reis, Charles Soule, Robert Venditti, David Finch and Amanda Conner.
Soule and Venditti went on at length on the Green Lantern books they are writing, leading up to Lights Out, the next eventish thing happening. It’s like the Sons of Anarchy or The Shield in space with Guy Gardner and Dex-Starr, said Soule of Red Lantern. Harras praised Soule and Venditti for being a real team on the Lantern franchise and having a ton of ideas. “It’s in good hands.”
Soule says that Dr. Light is the villain of Lights Out, and it goes to “amazing places where I can’t believe we can go.”
“It’s not a safe story,” said Venditti as they are coming up with new Lanterns and so on. The big moments evolve out of the events, and they are not afraid to go there when it happens. Van Jensen is the third member of the Lantern team and Soule mentioned that all three of them form a team.
Soule talks a bit about Arcane in the Swamp Thing villain month issue. “This is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever written I finished it at 1 in the morning and couldn’t sleep afterwards.”
Swamp Thing has been building up to a big confrontation with Seer, a guy who has Swamp Thing’s powers, sort of. “He’s evil Johnny Appleseed.” He planted an evil whiskey tree in a small town in Scotland where everyone went crazy, for instance.
Jimmy Palmiotti is up next and talks about Harley Quinn, which is the character “daydreaming about what it would be like to have various artists draw her.” from Darwyn Cooke and Conner to a new artist. “It’s her imagining these adventures, and also breaking the fourth wall. The humor goes all over the place,” like Looney Toons, he says.
“My problem with the book is that Jimmy keeps coming up with wonderful ideas and I want to draw them” sayd Conner. “But I have to stick with covers!” In the first issue Harley Quinn moves to Coney Island and lives above a freak show, she inherits it from an old patient.”
“With that inheritance she also inherits 1000 problems,” says Palmiotti. “Harley has to make rent every month and tries out different jobs, like maybe the Roller Derby. The theme of the book is insanity.” Chad Harden is the regular artist. “We picked him because he has the flavor.”
In All-Star Western, Jonah Hex is running around the modern world and will be doing modern things like going to the Burning Man, meeting Constantine and going a little more crazy after that.
Palmiotti went on to talk about Mr Freeze, which resulted in him imitating the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of the character. “Effreebahdy Freeze.” You had to be there. “It delivers everything you wanted to know about Freeze and gives you a new appreciation for the motivation of the villain.”
Palmiotti went on to talk about Batwing and showed a few explosions. “Comic books love explosions,” he finished.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.